The Government Architect’s bicentenary takes place at a time of momentous change as NSW, like the rest of Australia and indeed the world, faces the challenge of creating a sustainable future, particularly in the cities and towns where most of us work, live, learn and play. What sort of places do we want our cities and towns to be? How can we achieve that?

Recent research shows that Australians want good design and understand the consequences of a poorly designed built environment. How do we honour this ambition for better quality in the design of our cities and towns?

To give shape to this debate, the NSW Office of the Government Architect presents GA200+, a program of forums, workshops and discussions in Sydney and around NSW. The events are designed for government, industry, academics and the public to engage in a conversation about how we can collectively deliver a great built environment for the public good in the years ahead.


As well as celebrating 200 years of the Government Architect in NSW, GA200+ is about finding more integrated ways of working across Government agencies. It’s about bringing together the key stakeholders who are or will be part of the Government Architect’s design excellence programs. GA200+ aims to create opportunities for built environment industry leaders to engage directly in discussions with Government on policy direction. It also aims to includethe public in a conversation about how the State is addressing the global issues that impact us all.

The key themes and ideas that emerge through the GA200+ events will be presented in discussion papers which will inform a draft Policy for Architecture and Urban Design in NSW.

McPhedran, Don The Drafting Office, 1963


The forum conversations are deliberately small and directed at a curated audience consisting of Government agencies; architectural and planning practices; developers; representatives from academia who are leading the way in built environment research; peak industry bodies; economic experts; community groups and interested members of the public.

If you have not received an invitation to an event but would like to make a contribution to the discussion, please contact the Events Director.

GA200+ Symposium 04.05.16
Image: Adam Hollingworth

Past and Future

In 1900 only 10% of the global population lived in cities, today its five times that amount. By 2050 more than 70% of people on earth will live in cities. While Australia is already one of the most urbanised countries in the world, we won’t be immune from the impacts of mass urbanisation. In Sydney, we’re going to need an extra 664,000 new homes in the next 20 years alone, just to keep pace with demand.

Our regional areas face similar challenges. This year the areas outside of Sydney are estimated to grow just over 3 million people or 40% of the state’s population. Regional areas in NSW contribute around $138 billion to the Gross State Product – one third of the state’s total. The portfolio of planning is not just about building more houses in cities, it’s about obtaining equity, opportunity and sustainability right across the state.

Having transitioned to the Department for Planning in 2016, the role of the Office of the Government Architect is critical in helping deliver the planning cluster’s purpose: to make people’s lives better through sustainable and inclusive growth. Especially as an independent and expert agency who can help ensure world-class design and planning outcomes in NSW as it continues to grow.

The relocation and consolidation of the strategic and advisory role of the NSW Government Architect provides an unprecedented opportunity to work across government to improve social, environmental and economic outcomes for communities by enabling and supporting design quality in our built environment.